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Photos courtesy of Queens Theatre
Photos courtesy of Queens Theatre

Maycomb, a small, rural town in Alabama, is about to take Queens by storm.

This fictitional hamlet was made famous by “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the 1960 bestseller by Harper Lee that garnered a Pulitzer Prize on the way to becoming a pillar of American literature. Maycomb is where a lovable tomboy, Scout Finch, and her older brother, Jem, pass their idyllic childhood with their buddy Dill, spying on their reclusive and mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley. But it’s also where these white siblings abruptly lose their innocence when their widowed father, Atticus, a lawyer with tremendous integrity, defends Tom Robinson, an African-American man accused of raping a white woman. Despite overwhelming evidence that he is innocent, the jury finds Robinson guilty.

Renowned for mixing humor and charm with extremely difficult themes such as bigotry and oppression, “To Kill a Mockingbird” jolted the United States while offering powerful lessons on tolerance, justice and quiet heroism. It was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck in 1962 and into a play by Christopher Sergel in 1970.

On Friday, Queens Theatre will start an eight-show run of the play — directed by Rob Urbinati, a playwright, show business consultant, curator, musical creator, literary manager and the venue’s director of new play development — with performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (the latter features a reception with cocktails and dinner). “To Kill a Mockingbird” ($42/$25 for rear side seating) will then show on Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. until Nov. 22.

Ezra Barnes, who has performed in the off-Broadway productions of “Breakfast With Mugabe,” “In White America,” and “Richard II,” will play Atticus, while Scout will be played by Shannon Harrington, an 11-year-old prodigy who worked at Sundance Institute’s Directors Lab in Utah. Rockaway Theater Company veteran Aidan J. Lawrence will be Jem.

“’To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a beloved novel, and the film is equally treasured, but the play is rarely seen — particularly in New York City,” Queens Theater Managing Director Taryn Sacramone said. “I am truly excited to bring [it] to our stage.”

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